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Many new students will be wanting to make up for lost time this September – the last 18 months haven’t exactly given much opportunity to get out there and have fun. Some might have even forgotten what it feels like to socialise, or be feeling a bit nervous about it.

So, to help you navigate those first couple of weeks while you settle in, we’ve put together some tips to kickstart your social life at university.

Make friends before September.

You can connect with other new students at the University through the University of Chester Offer Holders Group on Facebook. Post things like what course and accommodation you've applied for to get to know people you’ll meet this September. It’s also a great platform to discuss questions that are on your mind with your peers, and you might even find that people are asking the same things you were thinking about. Get involved!

Make the first few days count.

First impressions can mean a lot, so it’s important that when you arrive at university you try to get to know people. That could be people in your shared flat or house, people on the same corridor as you in halls, people on your course or those with a shared interest. That little bit of effort in the first few days will set you up well for the future and help you to make new friends. On your first day, if you arrive early, you could offer to help others as they arrive, and if you get there a bit later when they’ve settled in, go over and say hello – you can always unpack later.

Get involved in Welcome Week.

Welcome Week will have loads of fun activities, and this year the Students’ Union are currently planning a socially-distanced Fresher’s Fair, plus activities like an outdoor cinema, picnics and BBQs. These are ideal opportunities to socialise and get to know people, so we really recommend that you get out there and go to as many activities as possible.

Hang out in social spaces.

Having your own space is really important, but if there are times when you’re just reading, on your phone or listening to some music, and you’d welcome some company, why not hang out in a common room or a cafe? Just a smile as someone walks past can leave a great impression and you never know when a conversation might lead to a friendship.

Do a group activity.

If you’re living in a house or flat with a communal kitchen, a fun way to get to know the people you’re living with is cook something together. You could even choose a different country one night a week, and make it a bit of a tradition.

Join a society or a sports team.

It’s a great idea to look into the societies you may be interested in joining before you arrive in September. Chester Students’ Union has loads of societies for new students to get involved with and it’s the ideal chance to find people who have similar interests to you, or for you step outside of your comfort zone a bit and try something new. If sport’s your thing, then make sure you have a good look at the University’s Athletics’ Union to narrow down the sports you’d like to do.

Discover the location together.

Whether your learning site is based in Chester, Warrington or Shrewsbury, discover the local area with new people. It could be housemates, someone you made friends with at a Welcome Week activity, or even just someone you had a nice chat with while grabbing lunch at one of our catering outlets. However you met, get together and explore what’s on your doorstep. There’s so much to see and do, so go and make the most of it.

Commuting students.

If you’re not living in student accommodation for your first year, that doesn’t mean you won’t make friends. It might be a little more effort at first, but it will be worth it. If nothing else, the one place you are certain to make friends, is your course. You’ll share a common interest with them through the subject you’re studying, but more than that you’ll be sharing the same learning experience. This means things like being on campus on the same days, and having the same assessments to work on. And when you get invited to grab a coffee or lunch after a session, say yes. If you know the area really well, you can use that to your advantage – take your new friends to your favourite spots. Don’t forget to join any societies or sports teams you like the look of – you might be commuting but first and foremost, you’re a student at university, so get involved, meet new people and have loads of fun.

We’re looking forward to welcoming all of our students, current and new, this September! University is an amazing time in your life, so we really recommend that you put yourself out there and experience as much as possible.

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